Skip to main content
Bradley Scott Dornish

Bradley Dornish’s Answers

13 total

  • Is the remainderman able to sell his property without permission of the life estate owner?

    My brother sold property without notification of the sale to me, a life estate owner of house plus 6 acres. Can I cause the sale to be invalid and or illegal?

    Bradley’s Answer

    Deeding a life estate with a remainder to another splits the title into two separate parts, one being the current title in the life tenant, and the second being the future interest in the remainderman. Each part can be conveyed separately by the owner of that interest, but the life tenant and remainderman must join to convey the whole, fee simple title. Most buyers would not want only the remainder, since thay have no current possession of the property, and don't know when the life tenant will die.

    See question 
  • Foreclosure in Pennsylvania questions

    I no longer can afford my large luxury home in Pennsylvania. I don't want the home anymore. I bought home for $800k, owe $590k. I'm facing a divorce as well and facing a ton of legal costs. I cannot afford the monthly home/insurance/school taxes a...

    Bradley’s Answer

    Before a lender can begin a foreclosure action in Pennsylvania, the borrower must be 60 days in arrears. This typically means the third monthly payment is due. After that point, the lender sends an Act 6 Notice giving the borrower 30 days to get caught up before the lender files a complaint in mortgage foreclosure. Normally, a residential mortgage borrower would also be entitled to an Act 91 Notice, and an additional 30 days to file for help under the PA Homeowners' Emergncy Mortgage Assistance Act, but I understand that program ran out of money for this year, so those notices are not being sent and that extra time is not currently available.

    After the Act 6 notice expires, the lender can file a complaint inmortgage foreclosure in the Court of Common Pleas in the county in which the property is located. The sheriff has 30 days to serve the complaint, and the defendant 20 days to answer after service, and another 10 days after a default notice before default judgment is entered.

    If there are any errors in the complaint, the borrower can file an answer to the complaint, denying the inaccurate information, or preliminary objections if all the right information is not in the complaint and the note and mortgage properly identified.

    Either preliminary objections or an answer, if appropriate, should be filed with the help of an attorney, and both take more time before the foreclosure goes to sheriff's sale. Once the judgment is entered in favor of the lender, the property is listed for the next available sheriff's sale in the county. most counties have sales monthly, though some smaller counties have sales less often.

    At the sale, either a third party buyer buys the property, the lender takes the property, or the sale is postponed for some reason. Typically, thirty days or more after the sale, the sheriff issues a deed to the buyer or lender. At that point, if the owner is still in the property, an ejectment action is necessary to remove them. That usually takes another 60 to 90 days.

    Some counties, like Philadelphia and Allegheny counties, have additional special programs to mediate foreclosures, which add extra time to the process, but you should check with your county court on the details of any such program there.

    I advise clients they have about six months from the date of the first missed payment until they have to leave, but that can be extended many ways by action or inaction of the lender, the borrower or both.

    See question 
  • Can I sue my neighbor for having my vehicle towed from our shared driveway?

    We live on the 2nd & 3rd floors of a rental unit. The 1st is occupied by a salon, which our 'neighbor' rents. Her salon is open 30-35 hours per week. We share a driveway, & during her business hours, customers park in the driveway. There is nothin...

    Bradley’s Answer

    If the driveway is between the property where you rent and the property next door, your landlord's rights and yours may be based on a written easement in a prior deed, or a separate deed of easement. If the shared driveway is on your landlord's property alone, your rights and the first floor tenant's rights should be speled out in your respective leases to avoid controversy. If you have no rights to use the driveway in your present lease, however, be careful what you ask . The landlord may tell you both that you have no right to use the driveway for parking.

    You should be able to get the ticket thrown out, but it likely would not be worth your time to sue over that cost and inconvenience. If a pattern of harassment continues, the answer would be different.

    See question 
  • I hold my mothers Power of Attorney. can I evict someone quickly for fear she's in danger?

    Its a complicated situation. Long story short few years ago this guy held a gun to her head she showed up to my school needing me to take her to my grand parents( where i live). Well last year she took this idiot back. Recently I've been hearing r...

    Bradley’s Answer

    It appears that your mother lives at your grandmother's home, and has allowed her boyfriend to move in. This is not a true landlord/tenant situation, but a domestic situation, and your mother may need a Protection From Abuse order from the Family Division of the Court of Common Pleas. There are counsellors at the Family Division Court in Pittsburgh who help with such orders and related matters on a regular basis. If your mother is competent, it is unlikely you can do this for her with your power of attorney. She has to want to help herself..

    See question 
  • Once a landlord obtains order of possession, must LL permit tenant back in apt except to get belongings out?

    SCENARIO: LL has obtained order of possession. Tenant gets padlocked out. LL agrees to hold tenant's possessions for two weeks (or whatever a 'reasonable amount of time') is in PA. Question: Does the LL have to let the resident in AT ALL other tha...

    Bradley’s Answer

    PA does not yet have an abandoned property statute, so the landlord holding possessions for a reasonable amount of time should check with the magisterial district judge in the district where the property is located to determine what that judge finds reasonable.(A bill to set that time ast 30 days is pending in the state legislature).

    You do not have to and should not let the tenant in for any reason other than to remove his or her belongings. If you give them back the key, you may have to get a constable to get them out again. I recommend paying a constable to supervise the removal of the tenant's goods, and charging that cost to the tenant. It avoids alot of unpleasantness, and provides a witness to the removal process as well. A tenant may get a court order to get in for medicines, financial records or a drivers' license, but in the absence of an order, they don't have possession any longer, so they can't just get in whenever they want for whatever they want. You simply have to give a reasonable opportunity to get their goods out.

    It is not clear whether a landlord can charge a storage fee for use of the residential rental unit after the execution on the order for possession. However, if the tenant does not quickly remove his or her belongings, I recommend contacting a self storage facility and paying for a month of storage in the tenant's name. Let the facility know the tenant's new address for billing purposes, and get your rental unit ready to rerent. Self storage facilities are subject to different rules for seizing and selling the goods of an unpaid storage unit occupant, and those rules are much simpler than the landlord tenant rules for personal property left behind.

    See question 
  • Rented apartment

    I live in Pa. MY son rented an apt for nov 1 and gave the landlord a check for $4500 which was 4 months rent and security deposit. rent is $850 a month. He has not moved in and told the landlord he cannot afford the apt since the $4500 is all t...

    Bradley’s Answer

    A lease is a legal contract, so your son's rights will be determined primarily by the terms of the lease. Read the lease or take it to an attorney for help. If the lease is for a year, your son could be liable for more than the money he has already paid. You might consider asking the landlord for permission to sublease the apartment to someone else, who would then pay all or most of the monthly rent to your son. the disadvantage of a sublease is that your son is still liable for rent and damage to the apartment, but if he collects a security deposit and first month's rent from the subtenant, he will already be almost half way to being whole. If the landlord won't permit your son to sublease, ask if he will terminate the lease and give some of the money back. This can avoid exposure to continuing rent for more of the lease term, and avoid legal costs.

    See question 
  • What do you do when a judgement is entered.

    I am a landlord and returned partial deposit back. First time I have ever done this in 10 years, but it was horrible how they left my house. The tenants Ruined my hard woods with gauges and scratches, broke custom door, filthy, banged up the walls...

    Bradley’s Answer

    Under the Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Act, a landlord must give written notice to the tenant within 30 days after the end of the lease or surrender and acceptance of possession of exactly what is being witheld from the security deposit for damages, unpaid rent or other charges specified in the lease. If the landlord does not follow that law, he or she can be subject to suit for double the security deposit.

    However, any suit would have to be served on the landlord, and he or she would have an opportunity to defend the suit before a judgment could be entered against them. The fact that a judgment was entered against you without notice, and the fact it was for 4.5 times the security deposit suggest something was wrong in the way the action was filed and prosecuted. You should consult a local landlording lawyer right away to try get the judgment removed. A certiorari procedure may be appropriate to do that.

    HAPCO and DIG are two landlord or real estate investors' associations in Philadelphia which provide training on these procedures for their members. I recommend that you consider one of those associations going forward, so that you improve your procedures for returning security deposits to avoid this type of problem in the future.

    See question 
  • Is i legal for me to pay rent monthly at someones house and get kicked out before the month i paid for is over?

    I live with my boyfriends mother and she has been mistreating me since I've been here. We agreed that if I washed dishes she would cook dinner for me as well as everyone else in the house. One morning she woke everyone up with really loud music a...

    Bradley’s Answer

    If you are a tenant on an oral month to month lease in Pennsylvania, the landlord must give you one full month's notice to end the lease, running from the first of the month if that is when rent is due. For example, a notice today would give you one full month, the month of November, until November 30, to vacate. You would owe rent during the notice period.

    Your shared living arrangement appears to be less than a month to month lease, however, and the issues do not appear to be about rent, but about other conditions of your shared living arrangement. Under the circumstances you describe, why would you want to stay there?

    See question 
  • I need to get illegal sqatter off my property, what should i do?

    i have a property in Philadephia, PA. My tenants moved out last month and the house is vacant right now. When I went ot change locks I could not open the door, so I removed the door and put it back with another lock. Next day I came back, the new ...

    Bradley’s Answer

    Your course of action depends on who it is in the property. Assuming the person or persons in the property are not connected to the tenants who left the property, they can be considered trespassers, and you can contact the police to remove them, and then secure the property and request additional police patrols to make sure they do not return. The same procedure applies if you obtained an order for possession from the court against the tenants, had them removed by a constable, and they have returned.

    Some urban police departments are less willing than others to handle trespassers criminally, and may direct you to handle it as a civil eviction matter anyway, which is the action below.

    If the person or persons in the property are connected to the tenants, and you did not file an eviction action against the tenants and obtain and execute on a judgment for possession, you have to be very careful. It is likely in that case you will have to file an eviction action with the Philadelphia Municipal Court. There is no self help eviction in Pennsylvania, even after a lease has ended. You cannot change locks or take possession of the property, or the contents of the property, without following the Landlord Tenant Act.

    See question 
  • Real Estate deed Transfer in PA after Parents death.

    My father just passed away and my oldest sister is the executor of the will. I have another sister who lives in a home my father purchased for her to live in. The deed is held in his name. The will states to split all assets equally between the th...

    Bradley’s Answer

    Your older sister as the executrix has the responsibility to marshal the assets, file an inventory, file an inheritance tax return and pay theinheritance tax, and then distribute the assets of the estate to the three of you in accordance with the will. If the numbers work out, property can be distributed in kind to one onr more heirs.

    Even if the house constitutes more than your other sister's fair share, the three of you can enter into a family settlement agreement so she gets the house. Your older sister can execute a deed, but don't be surprised if it takes the estate attorney several months to get to that point in the process.

    See question